MALAYSIANS RAISE P15 BILLION FOR SOUTH LUZON EXPRESSWAY UP TO BATANGAS
KUALA LUMPUR, SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 (STAR) By Marianne V. Go - The MTD Group of Malaysia is raising a total of P15 billion for the rehabilitation and extension of the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) up to Santo Tomas, Batangas.
In a press familiarization tour and briefing at the MTD offices in Malaysia, MTD Group managing director Dato’ Azmil Khalid sought to assure visiting Filipino journalists that the MTD Group, which took over the stake of Hopewell Crown Infrastructure Inc. (HCII) and is partnering with the Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) to rehabilitate the SLEX, is not a fly-by-night company without a valid reputation.
According to Dato’ Azmil, the MTD Group alone is bringing in P3.5 billion for preliminary civil works on the SLEX rehabilitation particularly the long-delayed repair of the 1.2 kilometer Alabang viaduct.
An additional P2.5 million or $50 million would be funded by the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank (WB).
The rest of the required financing of P9 billion would come from a loan syndication led by Banco de Oro for a total financing of P15 billion.
The mere fact that the IFC is providing $50 million for the project and a local bank consortium is willing to lend the bulk of P9 billion already attest to the creditworthiness of the MTD Group, Dato’ Azmil pointed out.
The MTD Group has a total market capitalization of $700 million. The MTD Group includes MTD Capital, Metacorp, ACPI and the MTD Construction Sdn Bhd which took over the stake of HCII.
HCII had a joint venture agreement with the PNCC way back in 1999 for the then estimated $480 million, 88.35 kilometer extension of the SLEX from Alabang to Lucena Ciity.
The planned extension never took off and HCII eventually turned over the project to the MTD Group after the Malaysian Group bought the shares of Crown Equities Inc., and Hong Kong-based Hopewell Holdings Ltd. (which is controlled by Gordon Wu) in HCII.
MTD Construction and PNCC have since formed the South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) which will be the corporate vehicle that will run the project.
MTD Construction is one of the top five infrastructure firms in Malaysia.
The MTD Group is the toll operator of the showcase 60 kilometer Kuala Lumpur-Karak and the 169 kilometer East Cost Expressway.
The KL-Karak Highway was upgraded at a cost of $5 billion or RM 460 million from 1994 to 1998.
The East Coast Expressway was awarded to the MTD Group in 2002 and was opened to the public in 2004. It cost RM 1.3 billion.
The KL-Karak Highway and the East Coast Expressway basically links Malaysia from west to east from Kuala Lumpur.
Aside from other major infrastructure projects in Malaysia, the MTD Group also has other major projects in Australia, China, Chile, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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